Macworld: iPhone Apps Are Seldom Used


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According to a report from iPhone metrics company Pinch Media, “of the users who download free applications from the App Store, only twenty percent use the app the next day, and far fewer do as the days pass. For paid applications, the return rate is only slightly better: thirty percent of people use the application the day after they buy it. The drop-off rate for paid applications is about as steep as for free applications after the first day.” If accurate, this research could upend a lot of the thinking around the viability of mobile applications. Based on my own experience at least, it seems plausible.

  1. I’d bet this is related to the fact that it’s all so new. Lots of apps, lots of intrigue, and nobody’s quite sure what they want or need them to do yet. With time, I think the market will find balance and app creators will adjust and set their prices accordingly.

  2. I think that, really, the barrier to entry for trying out an application is next to zero – so why not download a dozen apps and try them all out?

    That’s true for many paid apps as well, many are under $3 – the less-than-coffee range.

    If you can download dozens of apps to try, you may find one that really does something well for you – so that’s the one you keep.

    The app store is a buffet. Everybody can try a little bit, then go back for seconds for the dishes they really like.

  3. I have half a dozen apps on my iPhone (both paid and free) that I have never touched after the first test. They tend to sit on the second or third homescreen pages. But the three I use daily are the essence of what makes this phone viable for me. Without these apps (Things especially) I wouldn’t have even bought the phone. I think it’s not a problem of the App store itself. It’s the load of useless apps in the store and the useful ones that are sold way too cheap. It will align. Sooner or later, the good apps will be as costly as most software packages and the rest will be cheap shelf warmers.

  4. It depends on the App. I use Facebook and Twitter every day. I also play Tetris often still. I think the key lies in the usefulness of the app and that’s as true for the phone/ipod as it is for the computer.

  5. For me, the above comments relate a lot to the whole file-sharing discussion going on (at least here in Sweden, with the Pirate Bay-trial).

    People download lots of songs and albums, but I’d say the drop-off rate is just as high as with the iPhone apps. Pirate Bay is a buffet no doubt, but how do you get people to pay once they find something they like?

    Sorry for the off-topic 😉

  6. Before drawing conclusions about the viability of mobile applications, it would be interesting to compare this trend to desktop apps, but I doubt there are comparable metrics available.

    This is of course anecdotic evidence, but I’ve paid for a lot of desktop software which I no longer use, or used only for a very short period of time.

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